Jarosław is located 134 kilometers to the west from Lviv, 214 kilometers to the east from Cracow, 214 kilometers above sea level. It is highly probable that a settlement existed here already in prehistoric times, which archeological studies confirm. The oldest written mentions date back to the 13th century. We can find them in old Russian chronicles which concern dynastic struggles from the period of regional disintegration in Ruthenia.
Since these lands were incorporated to the Polish Crown, until the 19th century, Jarosław was a private town, owned by several aristocratic families (Tarnowscy, Ostrogscy, Sobiescy, Czartoryscy) who made many efforts to gain appropriate royal privileges. Using advantageous geographical location at the navigable river and crossroads of important trade routes, in the 16th and 17th century Jarosław reached a full bloom. The biggest fairs in Poland, and after Frankfurt’s in the Central Europe, were held here. Merchants from the whole Europe and the Middle East were greatly attracted by them.
The fairs, being a diverse melting pot, provided a lively point of exchange not only products but also ideas and experiences. They were as well an invaluable propaganda forum for schools: Latin parish school, Jesuit college, Orthodox school where liberal arts were lectured, school for girls carried out by Benedictines and, last but not least, music school. By theatre plays (sources give even such titles as Comoedia Philocangeli or Nebuchadnezzar) noblemen were encouraged to send their children to schools, that is why not only Polish people studied in Jarosław but also Russians, Hungarians and Moldavians.
The biggest fairs were held at the end of summer, in August. The name of the first Fairs with Ancient Music was related exactly to these ones. After a few years, they evolved into the Festival Song of Our Roots. Each festival’s event takes place in historical surroundings which are testimony of the former splendor and importance of the town, and what is more – its multi-ethnicity, diversity of religions and rites.